If you’ve been watching the cable news networks over the last few days you may have noticed something missing. The previous, non-stop gab festival about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s alleged attempts to extort Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer seems to have faded largely into the background. As Allahpundit noted this morning, not a single one of the Sunday morning shows has so much as one Jersey related guest. What’s with the media blackout of the Story of the Century?
Our colleague Guy Benson has a story over at Town Hall which may explain the dearth of Christie Corruption Madness. In short, Zimmer’s story is starting fall to pieces.
CNN reported that Zimmer had explicitly denied any withheld Sandy funds were the result of any political machinations just one week prior to changing her story for MSNBC. In addition, a Democratic mayor of a different New Jersey town — who, according to Zimmer’s account, was present for one of the extortionary encounters — stated for the record that his recollection does not coincide with hers. He went on to praise Team Christie for their professionalism and responsiveness in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Zimmer has since announced that she won’t comment publicly on her allegations any further, in accordance with a supposed request from investigators. With her story unraveling, the Associated Press is out with a new analysis that strikes another blow against her credibility:
Here’s the AP report which guy is referencing.
The city whose Democratic mayor said GOP Gov. Chris Christie’s administration tied Superstorm Sandy aid to her support for a real estate project has, so far, received a level of aid from state-run programs that is similar to what other towns got, a review of grant data shows. Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer is no longer discussing her allegations that New Jersey’s second-largest city has been shortchanged on Sandy funds, that its aid is being held “hostage” as political leverage or that she feared further retribution in the next round of funding.
Guy also provides the full breakdown of the state level aid data. As you’ll see, Hoboken received $142,080 in aid which was precisely the same as 39 other communities of similar size. When Zimmer’s spokesman, Juan Melli, was asked about the claims that Hoboken was shortchanged this week, his response seemed strangely different than his boss’s previous tale.
The problem, he said in an interview last week, is that New Jersey hasn’t created Sandy aid programs designed to help places like Hoboken, a city of 50,000 across the Hudson River from New York City. Most of the communities devastated by Sandy were towns on the Jersey shore. “We’re a densely populated urban environment,” Melli said. “(The programs) make sense in other places, but they don’t make much sense here.”
Perhaps the Garden State has some antiquated policies in place which fail to balance the needs of shore side flood zones against more inland communities which primarily suffered wind damage. I don’t know, but if they do it’s a legitimate beef which the Governor should look into. But it’s also nothing even remotely like the previous allegations. They’re not even on the same planet.
One thing is becoming increasingly clear; if the Christie administration is guilty of attempted extortion, they’re incredibly bad at it. You don’t threaten to withhold something in order to get what you want while simultaneously handing out the very thing you were threatening to withhold. I understand that there are plenty of Democrats (along with more than a few antiestablishmentarianism conservatives) who are looking to pile on Christie, knock him down a few pegs in New Jersey and curtail his possible presidential ambitions. It’s only natural. But, as the man once said… you’ll have to do better than that.